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May 12, 2011

About Egypt's recent incidents

Dr. Mohamed Bakr

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I was appalled to read the articles published in the Canadian media about what the recent clashes between Muslims and Christians in Cairo. They were distorting facts and conveying half truths.

I had to write a strong email to one of the main news websites in Canada accusing them of brutal dishonesty.  Within 30 minutes of me writing this email, the flawed article that they posted was removed from their website. 

Our PM, who stood beside the dictator Mubarak against the people of Egypt during the Egyptian Revolution, issued a statement condemning violence against the “Coptic minority”. 

So, was there really any prior intention to hurt Christians in these events?  I will give the facts about what happened and I will leave it to the reader to determine if indeed these incidents were an intentional assault on Christians in Egypt.

1-   Over the past 8 years, there were many incidents where Coptic Christians who convert to Islam got kidnapped or murdered.  These repeated incidents triggered bitterness among Egyptian Muslims and moderate Christians alike.  Here is a link to the most recent of these incidents that rocked Egypt. The biased Canadian media blocked this story from the Canadian public.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/~/NewsContent/1/64/10609/Egypt/Politics-/Three-Coptic-brothers-accused-of-killing-sister,-h.aspx

The dictator Mubarak had very close relationship with the current Coptic Pope (Shenouda III).  Shenouda so many times declared his unconditional support for the dictator and for his son.  In return, Mubarak allowed the Church to have a tight control over Christian Copts. 

Mubarak Security forces, in many occasions, arrested Christians who convert to Islam and handed them back to the Church.  Many of them were never to be seen again.  Pope Shenouda urged Christians not to participate in the revolution that ousted Mubarak.  Many patriotic Copts refused to observe what Shenouda said and they were there beside their Muslim brothers and sisters.

2-   The story of the recent clashes starts really in September of last year where a Christian Copt lady with the name Abeer Fakhry converted to Islam and escaped from her family’s home in Upper Egypt out of fear for her safety (honor killing is very common in this part of Egypt among Muslims and Christians).  She registered herself officially as a Muslim and filed for divorce from her husband.  She had a Muslim fiancée and they were planning to get married.

3-    In March of this year, her family knew her whereabouts.  She was kidnapped against her will and detained in a number of Coptic churches until she ended up in a church in the poor Cairo neighborhood of Imbaba.

4-   She obviously contacted her fiancée and informed him of her whereabouts on the day of the incidents.  He went to a mosque in this neighborhood and informed people there that his fiancée is kidnapped inside the church.  This caused a group of Muslims to gather not far from the church but there were no violence.  A local Imam went with him and few others to ask the priests in the church about the woman.  The intention was to solve the whole dispute peacefully.

5-    A number of Christians on the roof of the opposite building, which is owned by the church, started shooting using automatic guns on the Muslims in the street who have not carried out any violence up till that moment.  Dozens of Muslims fell between dead or injured!  It is believed that these Christians have ties with the Mubarak regime and their aim was to start major ethnic violence across the country.

6-    A battle erupted between the Muslims in the street and the Christians who opened fire.  Molotov and weapons were used in this battle which lasted for several hours with no intervention from the police or the army!  As a result, the front of the church was burnt but it was not touched from the inside.  The majority of those injured or killed are Muslims.  There are many stories about Muslims protecting their Christian neighbors or Christians protecting their Muslim neighbors during these hours of chaos.  The vast majority of people in this neighborhood, both Muslims and Christians, were not involved in the violence in any way.

7-    The woman who was locked inside the church managed to escape during the chaos.  She spoke on a number of TV stations confirming that she was kidnapped against her will because she converted to Islam.  Her statements caused major embarrassment to the leadership of the Coptic Church who has repeatedly denied such kidnap incidents despite the overwhelming evidence pointing otherwise.  The latest news from Egypt is that this woman handed herself to the ruling military council for protection out of fear that she will be murdered.

8-   The Egyptian government stepped in and arrested all involved in violence both Muslims and Christians.  The government vowed to protect churches and all places of worship.  On the same day that PM Harper allowed the hate prophet Greet Wilders to enter Canada and spread his anti-Muslim blind hatred, the Egyptian government arrested 10 fanatics for spreading similar hatred over the internet against Christian Copts.

9-   The situation in the country is back to normal with Muslims and Christians living together.  The government is working to remove any reason for tension.

I can only imagine a Canadian reader who depends on our Canadian media feeling shocked for the so many missing details of their coverage of the story!

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